CinePaint and Deep Paint Software Design

A discussion with Izo and other designer friends about deep paint software design

By Robin Rowe

Vitascope motion picture projector, marketed by the Edison Manufacturing Co.

Vitascope motion picture projector, marketed by the Edison Manufacturing Co.

HOLLYWOOD, CA ( – 2011/12/9 – As we near our next release it’s time to consider what features future CinePaint versions may offer.  Whatever your painting tool of choice, whether that’s CinePaint, Photoshop, Aperture or something else, please take a moment to post to our comments section at the end of this story to share what you think a deep paint tool should do.

Back in September I had a dialog about the future direction of CinePaint and paint software with designer Ian Cylkowski, better know as Izo of Design by Izo. He also posted the question to his fellow Twitter design buddies as a design discussion on Google+.

Izo: For any FOSS image editor to compete properly with Photoshop, it needs, and this is just off the top of my head with my particular case usage

  • 24-bit image editing
  • Support for CMYK colour profiles right from the start, plus image conversion from RGB
  • Support for Pantone CMS
  • Non-destructive editing with tools like adjustment layers
  • Comprehensive font management and type options with support for kerning, tracking, opentype subsets, text columns, proper justification and hyphenation options and so on
  • Easy access to additional brushes, patterns and whatnot
  • Scalable brushes

It would be rad if, when loading CinePaint, it presents to a grid view of your most recently accessed CinePaint projects. Any important projects can then be “pinned”. Think of how Google Chrome’s startup page works.

Robin: Tell me more about working with type. Do you like Inkscape?

Izo: In Inkscape I can kern individual letter pairs, adjust tracking, word spacing, basic rotation and so on. It’s better than the state of type editing currently in GIMP. Inkscape doesn’t support OpenTypesubsets though for using alternative ampersand glyphs or variant ligature glyphs and appears to miss certain weights of a font sometimes, which is frustrating if you know it exists! Inkscape also doesn’t really deal with text columns nor proper paragraph hyphenation.

Robin: An idea for CinePaint is vector layers, to build some Inkscape-like features into CinePaint as a layer type. You’ll be able to reselect and manipulate text or graphics in a vector layer, not have it mashed into a raster as it is now.

Izo: Pantone CMS support in CinePaint?

Robin: We have some CMS features implemented. I don’t fully understand what we have. We need a CMS domain expert to tell us what needs to be done in this area.

Robin: What would you like to see first in CinePaint?

Izo: A good start would be basic adjustment layers like Curves, Levels, Colour Balance, Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation, Invert.

Robin: Were you able to download and build CinePaint?

Izo: I have heard of CinePaint but I’ve never really looked into it or used it at all. All went well until the make process. See

Robin: Yes, I know. Working on it. Thanks for your input!

Since September the bugs Izo reported in the CinePaint build process have been fixed and made into release 1.0.  While building CinePaint on Ubuntu is working better, the next CinePaint release due for Christmas will address build issues with other distros and enable installing on Ubuntu from deb files, not require building from source. After that, we can start implementing some new features as suggested by Izo and friends.

Vitascope advertisement image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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